Bloomberg by the Numbers: 6

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A patient at the University of Miami Hospital's Emergency Department.

That’s the percentage of Americans who believe that health care is the most important problem facing the country today, according to Gallup.

Its most recent survey that asked this question was taken June 7-10, before the Supreme Court ruled yesterday that the core of President Barack Obama’s health-care overhaul is constitutional.

The percentage has increased when health-care policy dominates the issue discussion, Gallup data show. About 31 percent said health-care was the most important issue in January 1994, when President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Clinton were trying to revamp the system. It reached 26 percent in the summer of 2009, when Obama and majority Democrats in Congress were focused on passing a health overhaul.

One reason the percentage is so low is that so many people feel the economy and unemployment are bigger problems than health-care. Still, the cost of delivering health-care services is a major concern for most voters.

Still, most people think the cost of health-care is a big issue.

About 40 percent said that the cost of health-care is “extremely important” and another 44 percent said it was “very important,” according to a Gallup survey taken May 10-13. The combined total of 84 percent exceeded that for unemployment (82 percent) or the federal budget deficit and debt (82 percent).

By a margin of 51 percent to 44 percent, voters think Obama would do a better job than Republican Mitt Romney in curbing health-care costs, according to Gallup’s May survey.


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